NIOA wins contract for next generation Army weapons


The Federal Government has signed a multi-million dollar agreement with Queensland company NIOA to start acquiring and supplying the next generation of small arms for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The contract is part of a $500 million plus commitment to provide Australia’s soldiers, sailors and aviators with enhanced lethality weapon systems.

The Head Land Systems, Major General Andrew Bottrell today announced the Lethality System Project (LAND 159) Tranche 1 contract in the lead-up to the Land Forces 2022 Exposition in Brisbane.

(@AuManufacturing News will run a special two week editorial series to coincide with Land Forces – starts Monday.)

NIOA will use a range of sub-contractors to supply new sniper rifles, pistols, shotguns, personal defence weapons, fighting knives, and an assault breaching system to the ADF.

Zu Bladeworx, an Australian manufacturer of high end cutlery, specializing in rescue and edged tools for Australian Police and Defence Force personnel, has been selected to supply its Double-Edged Fighting Knife.

Major General Bottrell said the contract would include munitions and ancillary equipment including optical and laser systems, torches and suppressors for the new generation of small arms.

He said: “Under the contract, NIOA will be the prime contractor, working with local and international suppliers and weapon manufacturers on the acquisition, integration, delivery and ongoing support of the new weapon systems from 2023.

“This is a bold step into modern weaponry to quickly improve Australia’s defence preparedness.”

Defence will seek to maximise Australian industry involvement throughout the life of the Lethality System Project, and ensure continuous engagement with industry partners.

NIOA CEO Robert Nioa said: “The battlefield capability increase that these next-generation weapons provide is a game-changer for our warfighters.

“NIOA is proud of its role in this project. Protecting our national security means teamwork at every level – Government, Defence and industry.

“As an Australian-owned company we feel strongly about assisting the Commonwealth Government to meet the sovereign capability priorities of today and tomorrow.”

New weapons systems to be acquired include:

  • Australian manufacturer ZU Bladeworx’s Double-Edged Fighting Knife – selected as the basis of the ADF’s new Hand-to-Hand Fighting System. The black, double-edged fighting knife has a 100mm blade, is machined from a solid billet of A2 steel and features a non-slip handle and retention ring.
  • The SIG Sauer P320 XCarry Pro – selected as the platform for the Sidearm Weapon System, which will replace the venerable Browning Mk3 pistol. It will be complemented with reflex sights, and a white light illuminator.
  • The Benelli M3A1 – selected as the platform for the Combat Shotgun System. Operable in semi-automatic or pump-action mode, it is complemented with a red dot sight and white light illuminator.
  • The SIG Sauer MCX, in .300 Blackout calibre – selected as the platform for the Personal Defence Weapon System, to provide dismounted combatants with a light, modular, and compact weapon system that can be rapidly optimised for specialised roles.
  • The Accuracy International AX-SR – selected as the platform for the Long Range Sniper Capability. It will be introduced into ADF service as a multi-calibre system capable of delivering in .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Norma Magnum and 7.62mm NATO calibres.
  • The Sniper Surveillance Capability – selected to provide ADF snipers with a day and night capability utilising the Safran JIM Compact multispectral surveillance device and Steiner laser range-finding binoculars.
  • The M107A1 rifle, manufactured by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Incorporated, – selected as the platform for the Anti-Material Sniper Capability.

Picture: Zu Bladeworx

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